Kerala

A haven no longer for migratory birds

With the dawn of the migratory bird season, the Changaram wetlands (Changaram padam) at Ezhupunna has started welcoming its avian visitors from far off places. But this time around, the region, known as a haven for birds, will not live up to its reputation. There is risk to the birds from traps laid in the form of thin nylon threads tied to poles across the waters, habitat loss owing to human intervention, and indiscriminate hunting.

According to data on sighting of birds, uploaded in eBird (www.ebird.org) by birdwatchers, Changaram wetlands is one of the top hotspots for migratory birds in the State. At least 189 species of migratory birds have been recorded here including rare ones such as Blue-cheeked bee eaters, Black-capped kingfisher, Spot-billed pelicans, Greater flemington, Pied avocet, and Greater flamingo along with common migratory duck species such as Lesser Whistling-Duck, Garganey, and Northern Shoveler.

“The Changaram wetlands is home to immense bird diversity. But this time, their natural habitat has been depleted owing to the large-scale laying of traps in the name of prawn cultivation. The birds, especially ducks, are trapped in the nylon threads when they hit the ground during nights. We are not against prawn cultivation. But by laying traps, the birds have been denied their right to live,” says Sumesh B., president, Ezhupunna Birders.

Waste dumping

The trap is not the only threat being faced by the birds. Recently, officials with the Forests Department arrested a person involved in the hunting of migratory birds in the area. Their natural habitat has degraded considerably owing to rampant waste dumping and construction activities. “Plastic dumping is rife in the area. It adversely impacts the habitat and camping of migratory birds. Encroachment of wetlands and illegal construction too are being carried out in violation of rules,” said Rajendran T.R., a birder.

Birders said they would file a complaint with the District Collector, demanding action to protect the migratory birds’ natural habitat.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 10:01:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-haven-no-longer-for-migratory-birds/article22328540.ece

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